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Blackberry's Strange Square Phone Is Almost Here

Who let them build this?
Michael Cruickshank
Blackberry's Strange Square Phone Is Almost Here© 2017 Blackberry

We are not going to sugar coat it - BlackBerry is on its death bed. The company which was once a leader in mobile technology, and productivity-focused smartphones, is now seen by most a has-been. Its once innovative form factor, of a stubby rectangle with a physical QWERTY keyboard is now decidedly outdated in a world of touch-screen phablets and voice control.

With this in mind you, would think BlackBerry would be willing to try something new to save their company. But no, now they are debuting their latest button masher: the Blackberry Passport. With possibly the strangest form factor of any smartphone we have seen in the last few years, the square shaped device has been stretched in way which no phone ever should, to accommodate both a Full-HD screen, and a QWERTY button keyboard.

Image: © 2014 BlackBerry

BlackBerry has been trying to drum up a justification for the device in the past months, since its initial design was unveiled, but with so little about the phone making sense, it is unlikely that when this phone eventually goes on sale this week, it will see much success. Indeed, priced at $599 with no Google services, no cloud storage, no stylus and few apps, the product is not by any means going to be popular with Blackberry’s target market of “core business users”.

The Passport proves once again that BlackBerry is unworthy of the title of ‘tech-innovator’ with such poorly thought out design choices. Except for the niche market of security conscious business and government users, Blackberry is looking more and more like a dead scene. For too long they have tied their brand image to the physical keyboard, rather than trying to compete with other companies in the mainstream smartphone market.

Without serious and drastic changes in company philosophy, and an acknowledgement that rivals like Samsung and Apple have good ideas, there is simply no future for the company. Indeed another phone like the BlackBerry Passport might just kill the company for good.

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